Look closely at the photo on the title page of the blog. You will notice our house and how much of the van is artfully hidden by a purple agapanthus flower. In another post, the van door is open, but it’s tough to tell what the ‘theme’ is. If you are new to the blog, you might have noticed that our transportation is riotously painted. If you are a veteran to the blog, know that we have been holding out on you regarding the details of the paint job. We admit to purposefully censoring the van.
Let us explain.
We rent the van from a company called Escape CamperVans. Their ‘schtick’, if you will, is that their vans are all painted: floating eyeballs, trees, birds, Jimmy Hendrix, abstract. It can be anything. You get whichever van is ready to go; you don’t get to choose.
Last year’s van was named CanLove and resembled the Partridge Family van or a lavender Mondrian painting. It was harmless, and we got lots of ‘thumbs up’ and ‘dig your van, man’ comments. (You can see photos on last year’s blog.)
This year’s van is called Monument and features two Native Americans and paintings of Monument Valley’s iconic mesas and buttes. We picked up the van and were skeptical. We parked it in the driveway. Friends and neighbors ‘hmmmm’d’. We ‘hmmmmm’d’. We will be traveling through Native American territory in a van that features clichéd (although historic, yes) pictures of Native Americans. Would the van offend anyone? How would we be received, as drivers of the van? Could we trade in the van? Should we avoid tribal territories? Maybe we should cover it with Post-its.
There had been some gnashing of teeth; but we knew we would need to accept the van.
We had great trepidation about the van, especially when a 5 year old boy pointed at the van and yelled, “Injuns!” Oh boy. Then we entered Klamath Falls, OR. In the parking lot of the Big 5 Sporting Goods store, a man walked by us and gave us a big thumbs up and said he liked the van. We came out of the Big 5 and two teen boys were taking a picture of the van with their phone. Big smiles from them. All of these men could have been Native American. In the parking lot of the Crater Lake Lodge, we are prevented from getting to the van because a Honda is sidled up to the driver’s side, its occupants taking photos.
A few mornings ago, Laura is in the van and Dudley is in the gas station taking care of business and big, burly, bearded Harley-driving men kaloomph towards the van. Laura tentatively rolls down the window. “Can I get a picture of me with your van?” Sure, she says. Photo op taken, the van rolls away. We see the Harley men pointing and appreciating the van, Confederate flags waving from the backs of their hogs.
A man in the Safeway parking lot told us he ‘liked the motif.” One middle-school aged girl told her parent, “I want to have a car like that. Do you think he bought it like that?” Dozens of people–park rangers, other drivers, hippies, suburban moms– have smiled and given us the ‘cool van’ nod.
This van elicits far more response than last year’s van ever did.
We are still trying to accept the van. When people say, Hey, like your van, we respond thanks, but we still always follow up with, It’s a rental. We are still trying to make it our van. To that end, here are beauty shots of the van, in all its uncensored glory.